Please Vote and Help Us Get a $150,000 Grant

Denise

Please Vote and Help Us Get a $150,000 Grant

Denise
ballot-box-32384_640I just submitted an application to receive a $150,000 grant through Chase's Mission Main Street Grants. Through the program, Chase awards 20 small businesses to each receive a $150,000 grant.

The first step toward qualifying for the grant depends on you. Please click here to vote for us--I need 250 votes by October 17!

As part of the application process, I answered five questions. I thought you'd like to see the five questions and my answers:

1. Tell us about your business and what makes it unique. Please provide a general description of your product, customers, competitive landscape, and overall performance.
While the health care system focuses on the health of the patient (or caree, as we say), I focus on the wellness of family caregivers—those individual who care for a family member or friend with a disease or injury.

Family caregivers provide all-the-time care, day and night, day after day. They change wounds, dispense medications, monitor health, provide activities, prepare special meals, keep health care professionals up-to-date, research options, advocate for the best possible care, make difficult decisions, shop for the the best-priced supplies, give the rides, first notice the problems, often suggest the solutions to health care professionals and keep the faith. They are the health care system.

Consider:

5,723: Total number of hospitals
920,829: Total number of hospital beds
834,769: Total number of physicians
65.7 million: Total number of individuals caring for a family member

I would like to do more to make the life of a family caregiver better. With your help, we can.

2. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Describe both your greatest achievements and biggest challenges.
After working with family caregivers in various settings (home health and nursing homes), I saw a need to support and empower them. I launched my business in 1994 and debuted Caregiving!, a monthly print publication, in 1995. I debuted Caregiving.com in 1996 to create an online support haven for family caregivers, a place for them to connect and share with others in a similar situation.

I am a student of the caregiving experience. I study the experience through my personal interactions, through my annual family caregiver survey and through our community. My insights about the caregiving experience have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Reuters, SmartMoney.com, Time magazine and Chicago Tribune.

I am the only employee so my greatest challenges are resources--money and manpower. I often need money I don't have. I also often need technological know-how I just don't have. I manage the site's content, technology and community.

3. How is your business involved with the community you serve? Examples include: giving back to the community, sourcing locally, and/or contributing to economic development via hiring.
I give back to family caregivers as often as I can. In 2011, I launched CareGifters, which sends $500 to family caregivers in need. Most recently, I sent money to a family caregiver to build a ramp, to a family caregiver to pay his bills after missing work to care for his wife, and to a family caregiver to buy much-needed medical supplies for her mother.

I launched two campaigns this year to create awareness of the needs of family caregivers:
--Hire a Family Caregiver to promote the skills and knowledge of family caregivers, many of whom who need a job but can't get one;
--I Am a Family Caregiver to show that family caregivers are all around us and how easy it is to help them.

I regularly sponsor Family Caregiver Awareness Days (Job Jar Day, Bring Flowers to a Family Caregiver, Grill for a Family Caregiver) to create awareness of the family caregiver in our communities and in our families.

I also hold every-other-week chats on Twitter (#carechat) for family caregivers.

4. What would a $150,000 grant mean to your business and how will you utilize the funds? Please be as specific as possible.
With a $150,000 grant, I can:

1. Hire 10 family caregivers on a part-time basis (paying each family caregiver $500 a month) to help as website community managers, help with marketing efforts, lead and start support groups in their communities, edit and create website content.

2. Create an app to suggest services, products, devices, equipment to help a family caregiver. Family caregivers don't receive training--they simply step in to help when a family member needs it. With an app, they can track what's happening with their caree (the family member receiving care) and then receive suggestions on services, products, equipment and supplies before they are needed. The app stays a step ahead of the family caregiver. We'll base this technology on The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey, a concept I developed in 1997 which walks family caregivers through the caregiving experience.

3. Hire a developer so the website loads quickly.

4. Pay myself a salary.

5. What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term growth plans for the business? How will this grant contribute to your plan?
In the next two years, I hope to:

1. Ensure family caregivers have what they need when they need it.
2. Continue to use technology to connect family caregivers to each other.
3. Create opportunities to employ family caregivers. The cost of caregiving can really stretch a budget. By employing family caregivers, I can help them have the money they need to hire care, to take a break, to buy the necessary supplies.
4. Nurture our online community so family caregivers can continue to share about their days without guilt and to connect to others who truly understand. The best resource for a family caregiver is another family caregiver.

Without the worries about money, I know I can reach more family caregivers and truly make a difference in their days and their lives.

This grant will make all of this possible. Thank you so much for your support and consideration.




Please click here to vote for us--I need 250 votes by October 17!

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